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5 Challenging Features Of Korean Language For Beginners

Learn Korean Singapore

Korean is undoubtedly one of the more difficult languages for a Singaporean to master. Nonetheless, considering the business volumes and close ties between the two nations, it is certainly a skill worth having.

If you are contemplating on taking Korean lessons in Singapore, that’s a smart move. However, take note that there are certain features of the Korean language which beginners will often find challenging; sentence structure, verb ending forms, and honorifics to name a few.

However, you can overcome them. Moreover, the level of difficulty of learning any language falls to a learner’s attitude, determination, and consistency in practising.

Having said that, here are five challenging features for you to understand why they can be difficult and how you can overcome them if you wish to learn Korean in Singapore.

Word Order

The first and perhaps most perplexing challenges for beginners to the Korean language is understanding and mastering the word order.

The Korean language follows Subject – Object–Verb word order, quite different from English and other Western languages that follow Subject – verb – object.

For example, the sentence; “he lifts the bag” (Subject Verb Object), when translated from Korean would read: “he the bag lifts” (Subject object verb).


Like any other language, non-native speakers always find it a challenge to master pronunciation in a new language.

In Korean, an incorrect pronunciation could give a word or sentence an entirely different meaning. And this mistake can lead to embarrassing misunderstandings.

Unfortunately, pronunciation is not an object you can learn but a skill you need to have. Therefore, sharpen your ability by practising regularly and keep being keen on improving.

So, don’t worry about your pronunciation and just keep practising!

Several Connectors

Unlike English where connectors are applied sparingly, and lengthy sentences are generally discouraged, the Korean language is quite the opposite. The Korean language has several connectors which are often used generously making sentences lengthy.

You will encounter this challenge early when you learn Korean in Singapore, and it may cause you to give up. Why? Because while you are busy trying to figure out how to apply connectors, you could get left behind during your classes.

Contextual Verb Ending

The verb ending form in Korean varies with its context. There are specific terminations for formal circumstances such as asㅂ니다/습니다, and 아/어요 for informal speech.

Different verb ending forms also apply in situations such as in writing and poetry.

Until you master the basics and familiarize yourself with some cultural aspects, these verb ending forms will continue to pose a challenge.


Closely related to the contextual verb endings is the honorifics.

You may be well acquainted with the grammar and vocabulary; however, you may find yourself in an embarrassing situation if you have yet to master the Korean honorific culture.

For example, verb forms change when referring to your mother as compared to a lady colleague at work.

Yet again you need not worry about this. It would be good to practise frequently with native speakers to grasp the Korean culture.

These features are often mentioned passively in several Korean courses.

Learners are often left to stumble upon them. However, as you have read, the antidote to succeeding is having a positive attitude and regular practice.

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